THE new head of a health trust responsible for many of the county’s mental health services and community hospitals has been revealed.

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust will appoint Dr Nick Broughton to become its next chief executive when Stuart Bell retires from the role after he turns 60 this year.

Dr Broughton, is the current chief executive of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, which used to run several learning disability services in the county and was forced to pay a £2m fine in 2018 over failures in two patient deaths in 2013 and 2012.

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He has led a senior team that has taken its Care Quality Commission (CQC) rating from ‘requires improvement’ when he joined in November 2017 to ‘good'. The new rating was revealed last week.

A consultant psychiatrist for more than 20 years specialising in forensic psychiatry, he has held medical and clinical director roles, and a variety of other managerial positions, including as a director of Imperial College Healthcare Partners.

Oxford Health chair David Walker said: “We are looking forward to Nick’s arrival, bringing with him extensive experience in mental health and community services, his clinical background as a practising psychiatrist and, a real bonus, his local knowledge as a resident of Oxfordshire.

"The board of directors commends him to our governors with real enthusiasm."

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He also paid tribute the outgoing chief executive, who has worked for the NHS for almost 40 years and was awarded a CBE for his work in 2008, saying: “Stuart Bell is retiring from day-to-day health management and will be sorely missed and not just by us.

"He has national stature and his wise and deeply informed contributions to the wider NHS will not easily be replaced.”

Dr Broughton said he was 'absolutely delighted' to be joining Oxford Health, adding: "I have no doubt that the trust has the potential to become an outstanding provider of care, and my priority will be enabling us to achieve this together.

“I am passionate about research and partnership working, so am keen to build upon the strong links with academic institutions that Oxford Health has already established.”

He added he had been impressed with the progress made through the trust's Oxford Healthcare Improvement programme.

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Among those who have welcomed Dr Broughton to the role is Tom Hayes, chief executive of mental health charity Elmore Community Services and governor at Oxford Health.

He said it was a challenging time for mental health services in the county, which have been chronically underfunded, and the need to meet ever-increasing demand. Mr Hayes also thanked Mr Bell, who took on the role of chief executive in 2012, for 'upholding all that is best in the NHS'.

Oxford Health was rated 'good' by the CQC in December with the national watchdog praising the trust, saying there was a £12m shortfall in mental health funding at Oxford Health as well as a £10m shortfall in funding for community services. It added this required an ‘additional level of dedication and capability’ from trust leaders and staff to ‘maintain the capacity and quality of the services whilst managing scarce resources’.